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Papelbon says he should close, then defers to Rivera

Updated: July 15, 2008, 12:42 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Confidence is a key element in a relief pitcher's mental makeup. And Boston's Jonathan Papelbon and the Yankees' Mariano Rivera, two of the game's best closers, don't lack for it.

Consider Papelbon, who on Monday suggested -- before toning down his comments -- that he should pitch the ninth in Tuesday night's All-Star Game rather than Rivera, even though the game is at Yankee Stadium.

"We've both earned that right; us, by winning the World Series and having the opportunity ...

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